Thursday, 21 July 2016
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Garda Youth Diversion Projects
26. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has considered advocating for the services of the Garda youth diversion projects to be extended in north inner city Dublin, as well as other targeted urban areas, as part of a long-term plan to prevent young persons becoming involved in crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23038/16]
Statutory provision in relation to young offenders is set out in the Children Act 2001. The elements of the Children Act relating to the operation of the Garda Youth Diversion Programme, matters relating to criminal proceedings against children, criminal law issues and the operation of the Children Court under the Act come within the remit of the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality. The operation of the children detention school system under Part 10 of the Act is under the remit of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The Irish Youth Justice Service, based in my Department and staffed by officials from both Departments concerned, oversee the operation of the Act and all relevant policies and programmes.
There is significant investment in community based programmes which are directed at diverting young people from further involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour. In 2016, just under €17 million has been allocated by the Department of Justice and Equality to the Irish Youth Justice Service to administer Garda Youth Diversion Projects and Young Persons Probation Projects. These projects also benefit from support under the European Social Fund.
Overall funding of almost €900,000 is being provided this year to support these important initiatives in the Dublin north inner city area. In particular, the Garda Diversion projects provided support and services to over 140 young people who were referred in 2015. I welcome this allocation of funding for 2016. Each project works in conjunction with An Garda Síochána to develop a youth crime profile of the catchment area and the young people living there so that services are targeted effectively. I will continue to engage with the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality on the operation of the Garda Youth Diversion Projects, through the cross - agency structure of the Irish Youth Justice Service.